From effective biocontrol agent to successful invader: The harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) as an example of good ideas that could go wrong

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Abstract

The use of biological control agents to control pests is an alternative to pesticides and a tool to manage invasive alien species. However, biocontrol agents can themselves become invasive species under certain conditions. The harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) is a native Asian biocontrol agent that has become a successful invader. We reviewed articles containing "Harmonia axyridis" to gather information on its presence and surveyed entomologists researching Coccinellidae around the world to investigate further insights about the current distribution, vectors of introduction, habitat use and threats this species pose. The harlequin ladybird has established populations in at least 59 countries outside its native range. Twenty six percent of the surveyed scientists considered it a potential threat to native Coccinellidae. Published studies and scientists suggest Adalia bipunctata, native to Europe, is under the highest risk of population declines. Strict policies should be incorporated to prevent its arrival to non-invaded areas and to prevent further expansion range. Managing invasive species is a key priority to prevent biodiversity loss and promote ecosystem services.

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Camacho-cervantes, M., Ortega-iturriaga, A., & Del-val, E. (2017). From effective biocontrol agent to successful invader: The harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) as an example of good ideas that could go wrong. PeerJ, 2017(5). https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.3296

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